Friendships, Offspring and Realization

I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article titled “Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendship of Boys?”  Now, I’ve been interested in gender issues ever since the first time my mom told me I couldn’t do something because “that’s for boys.”  As much as I railed against traditional gender norms for girls I totally bought into those for boys until embarrassingly late in my life.  I mean yes, it did piss me off that boys seemed to be socially and emotionally inept but it never occurred to me that ,  some males didn’t want to conform to these roles. Honestly, this was probably because I had never met a guy  who showed an (even mild) interest in learning to listen and communicate. I do not mean in romantic relationship either. In truth most of my friend group has always been pretty mixed so the majority of  my interactions with guys was platonic, so you could say I got to see them “in their natural state” (yes, I’ve been a nerd forever too :-D).
Anyway, this article describes how loneliness is a genuinely life threatening problem for men in the U.S. It talks about factors that lead to this such as traditional gender roles, the hatred toward anything feminine/female in “real” men, limited range of feelings, etc. and goes on to point out that as boys age they tend to lose the people they consider best friends. For some it’s because they “drift apart”, others don’t want to be seen as “weird” or “gay.”  Which brings up yet another factor that goes into destroying close male/male relationships: homophobia. Boys who are gender non-conforming are automatically seen as gay.  And of course we live in a heternormative, patriarchal society and no one wants to be seen as less than if they can help it.
In my last post I wrote about how important community is for individuals. I think one of the greatest things the internet can be used for is building community. Meet-up and other sites encourage people with similar interests or from similar walks of life to get together and enjoy each others company. Humans are naturally social creatures and do poorly when isolated from others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of my favorite things about cannabis is that it is a social drug. We WANT to share our joy with others, we WANT to have buddies to pass the joint, even so some people still struggle with how to get past being buddies to form deeper relationships. This is not limited to just males, females and others may have problems forming these deeper relationships for various emotional/psychic/physical reasons.
So how does one form deeper bonds or reconnect with former friends?   ***Warning: Cliche ahead* It varies from person to person. One thing IS essential though: open, honest communication. Usually, people learn this from their family of origin. As we all know this is not the case for a lot of people. Even people who are determine to raise their child with the most open mind have struggles with unlearning behaviors and ideas that have been ingrained in society for centuries. Talking about feelings and thoughts is hard because we fear we will be made fun of for feeling and thinking, in other words, merely existing. It’s no wonder people have trouble with communication.

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